Futuna ChapelEdit profile
Futuna Chapel is a building in the suburb of Karori, Wellington. It is generally regarded as one of the finest New Zealand buildings of the twentieth century, winning the New Zealand Institute of Architects gold medal in 1968 and its 25-year Award in 1986. The Historic Places Trust has placed it on its register as a historic site, category one. It was designed by the architect John Scott and built by the brothers of the Society of Mary. The site was sold by the Society of Mary in 2000. The chapel is named after the Pacific Island of Futuna on which the missionary Peter Chanel, to whom the project is dedicated, was martyred in 1841.
Architect John Scott, who designed the chapel in 1958, was the first to create a bicultural building in New Zealand. The building represents an important combination of MÄori and PÄkehĠideas about architecture. On one hand it is a modernist building that uses geometrical forms and influences of the Modern Movement. It also represents aspects of a Marae, such as a large centre pole and sharply sloping eaves. The way in which the building achieves its contemplative atmosphere reflects the spiritual dimension of the Marae. In this sense, John Scott achieved a fusion of elements of architecture not seen before.
Over the last ten years, the chapel has not been maintained. The site of the chapel used to be the centrepiece of a spiritual retreat run by the Society of Mary. It was sold in 2000 to developers who wanted to incorporate its use into a residential development. Although recognised as a protected building, it was used for the storage of building materials while residential construction took place around it. In 2006 the chapel was sold to Friends of Futuna Trust. A conservation plan is being developed to allow the chapel to be used again.